The role of a channel account manager has evolved to become more and more sophisticated. One of the challenges faced by vendors is to find the right calibre of channel account manager. Beyond basic selling skills, channel account managers need to be able to sell different kinds of products to different kinds of partners. Therefore, having the right channel account managers is fundamental. It is no longer a case of hiring someone who knows a few resellers or has experience working in distribution.

Vendors must behave as leaders who enable their channel partners to succeed. They need to build their partners’ success into their business model. The partner community has expressed a desire to work with vendors who have a committed channel programme, a clear vision and market position and who are not afraid of pushing the boundaries. Therefore, vendors have to understand what partners expect from their relationships with channel account managers and strive to meet their demands.

Investing in training is a good solution as long as it provides ROI. The ultimate goal for vendors in providing adequate support for their channel account managers is to win more business, generate more revenue and create more profit both for themselves and for their partners.

Drawing on quotes and anecdotal evidence reflecting the expectations of various resellers and distributors, this whitepaper introduces the three prime attributes needed to be a good channel account manager. The ideal channel account manager is simultaneously:

a trusted advisor who focuses on the relationship with the partner, not the transaction
a solutions champion who is not simply a product pusher but considers what products and services will do for a business
a navigator who functions as a catalyst and linchpin within the organisation, being involved in its internal processes

Having defined these qualities, the whitepaper will outline the different skills needed to develop them and suggest plans and strategies that will help channel account managers achieve their full potential.